NC State volleyball will play Louisville to set off the ACC season Friday in Reynolds Coliseum at 7 p.m.
It’ll be a tough game for the Wolfpack (6-4) to take the win from the talented Cardinals (7-4), but the Pack has the home-court advantage this year. Last season, the Wolfpack lost to Louisville 3-0, the Pack’s third ACC loss. The three sets were fairly close, especially in the second set where the Pack only lost by three points, 25-22.
The Pack faced a similar problem against the Cardinals last year that the team is currently facing this season: blocking. Throughout the three sets, the Pack was outblocked 13-3 in last year’s match.
If the Cardinals continue with a similar play style, then the Wolfpack will need to rely on offensive attacks as a way to make up for blocking.
The Wolfpack has been improving on its blocking steadily, but will need to be aware against a strong team such as Louisville. Junior middle blocker Lauryn Terry and graduate middle blocker Kiera Moore have 27 and 25 blocks, respectively, this season.
The blockers can also set up Louisville to attack the back row defense including senior libero Makenzie Kuchmaner and junior defensive specialist Grace Irvin. If the Pack can have success with that, the Cardinals shouldn’t do irreparable damage to the Pack’s defense.
The leading attackers will probably be a combination of sophomore outside hitter Melissa Evans, senior middle blocker Teni Sopitan and freshman outside hitter Jade Parchment. Last season, Evans was out with an injury against the Cardinals, and Sopitan was the third most dangerous attacker with seven kills.
Throughout the nonconference slate, the Pack has shown great potential in facing tough opponents. Against Arkansas State, the Pack fought to come out on top after five sets of play. While the Pack lost against No. 15 Creighton 3-0, the score for each set was close and gave the Pack a chance to be at the same level of such an efficient team.